|6:33 PM EST||
John Garamendi, D-CA 3rd
Mr. GARAMENDI. Mr. Tonko, I knew that I would enjoy listening to you. The passion, the knowledge, the intensity that you bring to this issue is critically important. You have worked at these issues for a long time, and I want to talk, just wrap up the unemployment insurance issue with going back to where I started here some time ago.
Again, in early December, a jobs fair in Fairfield, California, nearly 1,000 people came to it, 50 employers. More than half of the people in this line are women. I could probably go down through this line. I remember a conversation with a couple of the women here, and they were on unemployment insurance.
Now, unemployment insurance actually started with the New Deal. It was part of the effort to deal with poverty in America, and it was an insurance program, a program into which the employer and the employee pay for insurance for the employee should there be a layoff, should they be unemployed, should that individual be unemployed. It is an insurance program. It is not a welfare program. It is an insurance program.
But if I were to go back down this line and talk to each one of these individuals, probably, maybe, 15 percent of them have lost their unemployment insurance because the House of Representatives has refused to extend the long-term unemployment insurance.
So where are they today? [Page: H214]
They are without a job because, as you said, Mr. Tonko, for every job available in America today, there are three people looking for that job. So two are going to go without the employment.
Minimum wage doesn't count because they yet don't have a job. We need to develop a jobs program, and we need to extend that unemployment because these women are mothers of children that now have a family with no income, no unemployment insurance.
The food stamps, the proposal on this floor by our colleagues was to cut the food stamp program by $40 billion. So where will the food come from? Not from SNAP, which is the new name for the food stamp program, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. That is going to be cut.
Hunger in America among children--one in four children go hungry, and we are adding to it. We are adding to that number today by the refusal to extend the unemployment insurance.
Some 72,000 people will lose their long-term unemployment insurance each month as this rolls along--each week.
Thank you, Mr. Tonko. You are welcome to interrupt me whenever, and we can have a dialogue here. So thanks for the lipreading.
Each week 72,000 people. At the end of the year, another 3 1/2 million will have lost their unemployment insurance. Will they have a job? They could have a better opportunity for a job if we carried out the President's jobs program.
I think we have got about 10 minutes or so. Let's spend some time on that.
I am going to put up one of my favorite and often-used charts here. Mr. Tonko, you will recognize this.